Friday, January 9, 2015

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: "Severe Natural Upheavals" - Earthquakes, Blizzards, Volcanic Activity All Hit Russia's Far East On ONE DAY!


January 9, 2015 - RUSSIA
- Severe natural upheavals raged across Russia's Far East on Thursday, as the region experienced increased volcanic activity, at least five earthquakes, avalanches and a month's worth of snow within a day, media reports said.

An airport on Sakhalin Island was forced to shut down while regional officials closed off roads and struggled to restore power to 12 villages on the south of the island that were still without electricity Thursday morning, Interfax reported.

The Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Airport was closed for the second day in a row on Thursday, with 60 flights grounded or rerouted because of the severe snow storm, Interfax reported. More than 1,000 people were stranded in the terminal, the airport said in a statement Wednesday.

The authorities have also issued an avalanche alert for Sakhalin Island and the Kamchatka Peninsula after three snow slides were recorded in one day, according to Interfax.

Nobody was injured in the relatively small snow slides, which were less than 60 cubic meters in volume, a spokesperson for the local road authority was quoted as saying.

The cyclone that brought these severe snowstorms to the region is expected to continue for the rest of the week, a spokesperson for the local weather service told Interfax.

Four earthquakes rattled the Sakhalin region in just one day, with the strongest one on Thursday morning reaching a magnitude of 5.2 at its epicenter in the Pacific Ocean, Interfax reported, citing the local seismic station.

Another 5.4-magnitude earthquake was reported in Kamchatka, according to Interfax.

In a further demonstration of the force of nature, the Shiveluch volcano in Kamchatka emitted an immense plume of volcanic ash on Wednesday, which drifted northwest over unpopulated areas, the regional branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry said in a statement, Interfax reported.

The nearly 5,000-meter-high Klyuchevsky volcano, also located in Kamchatka, on Monday began spewing ash up to 6 kilometers in the air, the ministry said. - The Moscow Times.

GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS: Brazil Water Supply, Crops Still At Risk A Year After Epic Drought - Most Severe Drought In 80 YEARS Covered Region Accounting For 60 PERCENT Of The Country's GDP!

A man stands on the cracked ground of the Atibainha dam as it dries up due to a prolonged drought in Nazare Paulista, Sao Paulo state, October 17, 2014.
REUTERS/Nacho Doce

January 9, 2015 - SAO PAULO, BRAZIL
- Southeastern Brazil is getting some rainfall a year after a record drought started, but not enough to eliminate worries about electricity rationing, drinking-water shortages or another season of damaged export crops, meteorologists said.

Record-high temperatures and the most severe drought in at least 80 years punished southeastern Brazil last year, a region accounting for 60 percent of the country's gross domestic product. Lingering climate challenges could threaten a tepid economic recovery.

Private weather forecaster Somar warned of irregular rainfall in the center-west soy belt as well as the southeast throughout the month as an atmospheric blockage prevents a cold front from advancing over the key producing regions in the world's largest exporter of coffee, sugar, soy and beef.

That is especially worrisome in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais, which produces half of Brazil's coffee. Drought there last year wiped out as much as a third of the crop in some areas, causing global arabica prices to rise 50 percent over the year even as most other commodity markets tumbled.

Scientists said coffee trees would not recover from the extreme heat and drought quickly, and forecasts pointing to below-average rain in January caused arabica prices to rise 12 percent this week.

Somar agro meteorologist Marco Antonio dos Santos expressed concern about the 2015 coffee crop, which will be harvested between May and August.

"It's not like 2014, when the whole crop was affected, but I am sure there will be regional damage," he said. "Some red flags are going up."

The Reuters weather dashboard on Friday showed that by Jan. 23, rainfall would be about half the historical average in the southeast region and 300 mm (11.8 inches) below average in Minas Gerais.


Rains are not likely to bring reservoirs back to comfortable levels in southeastern Brazil, which is responsible for 70 percent of the country's hydroelectric generation. Brazil, which has the world's largest fresh water supply, usually relies on hydro-power to generate more than two-thirds of its electricity.

The national grid operator slashed its forecasts for January rain over reservoirs in the southeast and center-west regions on Friday to just 56 percent of the historical average from 82 percent a week earlier.

It said reservoirs would probably end January between 19.2 percent and 25.3 percent full. That is about half of the 41 percent a year ago and well short of the 60 percent level specialists consider ideal ahead of the dry season.

Even so, the government has ruled out electricity rationing as power distributors turn to expensive alternatives like thermal. The president of the CCEE spot-market electricity clearinghouse said last month that he expected thermal plants in the southeast to remain active for two more years.

Rising energy prices have increased costs for electrical distributors and the government is considering a nearly $1 billion loan from state-run banks to help companies cover costs. It would be the third such loan in less than a year.

Climatempo meteorologist Alexandre Nascimento said potable water shortages in 2015 are possible for the 20 million people of Sao Paulo, South America's largest city,

"In the best hypothesis," he said, "we will be able to recover the dead volumes," which are the muddy reserves at the bottom of the city's main reservoir that state-run utility Sabesp has relied on for months to keep taps running.

Sabesp received authorization this week to implement steep fines for above-average water use, but some fear the measure came too late. The Cantareira reservoir was at 6.7 percent capacity on Friday, even after several afternoons of violent summer rainstorms in Sao Paulo. - Trust.

ICE AGE NOW: Time To Move To Mars - Temperatures On The Red Planet Were Warmer On Thursday Than FOURTEEN STATES From Washington To Maine! [PHOTOS]

It's officially colder than Mars: NASA recorded a daytime high of 17.6 F on Mars today, which was warmer than many parts of the Midwest and Northeast.
Above, a postal service worker braves the cold in Rockford, Illinois where the high was 18 F

January 9, 2015 - UNITED STATES
- Time to stop remarking about how unearthly cold it is outside because on Thursday, Mars was actually warmer than many parts of the U.S.

However, Americans shouldn't start planning their winter vacation to Mars just yet, as the nighttime temperatures drop drastically.
Thursday night, temperatures dipped to a fatal -144 F.

The daytime high in the red planet's Gale Crater, as recorded by NASA's curiosity Rover, was 17.6 degrees F - a whopping 11 degrees warmer than the 6-degree high in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Temperatures in fourteen states from Washington to Maine reported temperatures colder than Mars, as a brutal blast of Arctic air sweeps the country.

Mars just recently passed its closest orbit to the sun, which partially explains why the temperature was relatively balmy. The Gale Crater is also located in one of the warmest parts of the planet, near the equator.

Temperatures are expected to improve Friday as Winter Storm Gorgon moves off the coast of the U.S.

However, as much as two feet of snow will drop over the Great Lakes region as cold air creates lake effect snow in the region to create more blizzard conditions when combined with strong winds.

This next wave of cold has already hit parts of the midwest, causing whiteout conditions in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa on Thursday.

By Friday morning its expected to pass on to the East Coast and wrap up the evening in New England.

Below follows some of the damage the winter storm has done this week.

The Hudson-Athens Lighthouse is surrounded by the icy waters of the Hudson River on Thursday, January 8, 2015, in Hudson, New York

Steam rises over Lake Michigan near the Chicago skyline on Thursday. Dangerously cold air has sent temperatures
plummeting into the single digits around the U.S., with wind chills driving them even lower

An aerial photo shows the Navy Pier on Lake Michigan on Thursday, January 8, 2015, in Chicago

Delaying and canceling School

School districts from the South to the Northeast and Midwest delayed the start of classes or canceled school altogether.

Wind-chill readings were at or below zero in such places as Alabama and North Carolina, along with a chunk of the Midwest, the Plains and the Northeast. The wind chill was minus-40 in Saranac Lake in upstate New York on Thursday morning.

In northwest Georgia, schools in Catoosa County had a two-hour delayed start on Thursday because of temperatures expected to top out at 27 degrees and dip as low as minus 2 degrees with wind chills.

Many other cities modified school schedules, including Detroit, where it was 3 degrees early Thursday. Students got the day off Thursday at Detroit Public Schools, the state's largest district, and at many other districts around Michigan.

School districts also closed schools in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Pennsylvania and Maine.

'Heat wave' Temperatures are expected to warm up on Friday, but they will still be cold enough to
produce an expected two feet of snow in the Great Lakes region 

Deaths in Michigan

Authorities say the severe weather and blowing snow are factors in the deaths of two northern Michigan men — an 85-year-old who was struck by a car while crossing a road to get his mail and a 64-year-old who was hit by a car while clearing snow.

A car struck 85-year-old Carl Dewey on Wednesday in Helena Township, about 30 miles northeast of Traverse City, the Antrim County sheriff's department said. There were whiteout conditions at the time, the department told The Grand Rapids Press.

The Kalkaska County sheriff's department said 64-year-old Zane Chwastek of Bear Lake Township was using a snow blower in his driveway Wednesday when a car slid off the road and struck him.

A pile-up in whiteout conditions

An 18-vehicle pileup that happened in whiteout conditions on a western Pennsylvania interstate left two people dead and nearly two dozen injured.

Nine trucks, several of them tractor-trailers, and nine cars were involved in the crash Wednesday afternoon on Interstate 80 in Clarion Township, state police said. At least one of the trucks was carrying hazardous material, but no leaks were found.

None of the injuries was thought to be life-threatening, but three of the approximately 20 people taken to the hospital appeared to have serious injuries. The others were treated for everything from bumps to broken bones.

Whiteout conditions in Clarion, Pennsylvania caused a 18-car pile-up on Interstate 80. Nine trucks and nine cars were involved

Two men were killed in the accident, both after getting out of their vehicles to aid the other injured

Dozens more were injured but none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening

Horses killed in fire

A space heater being used to thaw frozen pipes was the likely cause of a barn fire that killed more than a dozen horses in northern Ohio, fire officials said.

'It just engulfed the building. It went up in a hurry,' said Tim Kelly, an employee of the farm in Tallmadge, a suburb of Akron. 'By the time you saw it, the building was just full of smoke with flames just coming through the roof.'

Firefighters were hindered by temperatures hovering around 3 degrees.

'We went in, but you couldn't see and you couldn't breathe,' Kelly told the Akron Beacon Journal. 'You could hear them, but we couldn't get them out.'

A pair of onlookers take pictures as waves crash at North Avenue Beach along the Lake Michigan shore on Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Commuter frustration

Below-freezing temperatures in the nation's capital caused headaches for commuters.

In all, there were delays on five of the Metro system's six lines Thursday morning.

The Washington transit agency says the system's red line was delayed in both directions because of weather-related equipment problems on train cars. The other four lines were delayed because of broken or cracked rails.

Commuters vented their frustration on Twitter, with many posts including photos of stations and trains jam-packed with people. One Twitter user wrote that he loves being told to avoid lines that have delays, adding, 'OK, I'll just move my house and job for the day.'

An ornamental fountain fronting the Old State Bank in Decatur, Alabama, turned into icicles on Thursday after temperatures reached a low of 7 degrees F

Keeping resident's warm

Many cities experiencing cold weather have opened warming stations for residents lacking heat. But extra care is being taken to protect the homeless.

In New Jersey, some officials have empowered law enforcement to move homeless people off the streets and into shelters.

Blankets were being given out at some of the 15 small tent cities around Huntsville, Alabama. Workers from a nonprofit organization there encouraged residents of the encampments to come inside. Some people planned to stay at a church that was opening as a shelter.

Bethany Strand walks her Labradoodle named Moose home along Main Street after picking up a few things at
the store Thursday, January 8, 2015, in Cedar Falls, Iowa

Wind blows snow off the North Avenue Beach along the Lake Michigan shore, Wednesday, January 7, 2015, in Chicago

'We've got snow flurries as the temperatures continue to drop so they're coming in,' said Clete Wetli, executive director of First Stop Inc., which provides transportation, mental health counseling and other services to the homeless. 'The last thing we want is for someone to get hypothermia or die of frostbite.'

Officials in Ohio and Georgia warned residents never to use their kitchen ovens or stoves to heat their homes. It could prove deadly.  - Daily Mail.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: United States Of Diseases - 26 Children Dead As Flu Outbreak Widens; Health Officials Warn Of Outbreak Of Legionnaire's Disease In NYC; Harsh Respiratory Virus Slams Colorado; 5 New Measles Cases With Ties To Disneyland!

January 9, 2015 - UNITED STATES - Here's the latest round-up of nationally notifiable infectious diseases in the United States.

NYC Health Officials Warn of Increase in Bronx Cases of Severe, Potentially Deadly Outbreak of Legionnaire's Disease

This 2009 colorized 8000X electron micrograph image provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
shows a large grouping of Gram-negative Legionella pneumophila bacteria.

City health officials are warning New Yorkers about an increase in cases of Legionnaire's disease, a potentially deadly form of pneumonia, in the Bronx.

Eleven cases of the disease were reported in the Bronx in December, compared with two in December 2013 and three in December 2012. The 11 cases reported last month represent nearly 20 percent of the total of 61 cases the borough had in all of 2014. Most cases were in the northeast Bronx.

Legionnaire's disease is caused by exposure to the bacteria Legionella, an aquatic organism that grow in warm environments. People are exposed to it by inhaling contaminated aerosols from cooling towers, whirlpool spas, showers and faucets or drinking water contaminated with the bacteria.

The Health Department is looking into whether the cases are due to a common source.

The disease usually sets in two to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria and represents with symptoms similar to pneumonia, including shortness of breath, high fever, chills and chest pains. People with Legionnaire's also experience appetite loss, fatigue and muscle aches.

It cannot be spread person-to-person and those at highest risk for contracting the illness include the elderly, cigarette smokers, people with chronic lung or immune system disease and those receiving immunosuppressive drugs.

Legionnaire's, discovered in 1976, is relatively rare and can have a fatality rate of anywhere from 5 percent to 40 percent, the Health Department says. It can be successfully treated with antibiotics.

The Health Department sent a memo to providers to remind them to test for Legionnaire's when Bronx patients present with pneumonia symptoms. - NBC New York.

Unraveling the Key to a Cold Virus’s Effectiveness

Transmission electron microscopy of a rhinovirus, one cause of the common cold. Credit James Cavallini/Science Source

If there is a champion among contagions, it may well be the lowly rhinovirus, responsible for many of the coughs and sniffles that trouble us this time of year. Rhinoviruses are spectacularly effective at infecting humans. Americans suffer one billion colds a year, and rhinoviruses are the leading cause of these infections.

Scientists have never been sure why they are so effective, but now a team at Yale University may have found a clue. The scientists argue that rhinoviruses have found a blind spot in the human immune system: They take advantage of the cold air in our noses.

In the 1960s, researchers first noticed that if they incubated rhinoviruses a few degrees below body temperature, the viruses multiplied much faster. It was an intriguing finding, since rhinoviruses often infect the lining of the nostrils, which are cooled by incoming air.

In subsequent years, scientists searched for an explanation. “People have taken the virus apart and studied its parts,” said Akiko Iwasaki, an immunobiologist at Yale. “But none of this really added up to explain why the virus replicated faster at a lower temperature.”

Dr. Iwasaki and her colleagues wondered if scientists had been looking at the wrong side of the cold equation. Perhaps the rhinovirus doesn’t adapt in any special way. Perhaps we do a worse job of fighting it at lower temperatures.

To test this possibility, the researchers designed an experiment in which they disabled genes in cells in a dish , then tested how easily the rhinoviruses infected the cells at various temperatures. They chose cells from the airways of mice, since scientists can easily shut off genes in rodents.

But there was a hitch: Human rhinoviruses don’t breed well in mice. Dr. Iwasaki and her colleagues solved this problem by allowing the viruses to mutate and adapt until they grew quickly in their new hosts.

Dr. Iwasaki and her colleagues were then able to observe what happened to the mouse cells when rhinoviruses attacked. At body temperature, the cells responded with a sophisticated defense, sending out warning signals to uninfected cells around them. Those cells prepared an arsenal of antiviral proteins, which they used to destroy the rhinoviruses.

But at a relatively cool 91.4 degrees Fahrenheit, Dr. Iwasaki and her colleagues found, things changed.

The neighboring cells only managed a weak defense, allowing the rhinoviruses to invade them and multiply. This result pointed to an explanation for why rhinoviruses plague humans at low temperatures: In cool conditions, the immune system somehow falters.

To test this explanation, the scientists looked more closely at the chain of proteins involved in defending cells, from the sensors that grab onto a virus to the proteins that act as warning signals. They found that if they shut down genes responsible for making some of those proteins, the cells could no longer defend themselves at body temperature. Rhinoviruses invaded these impaired cells easily whether they were warm or cool.

By infecting the nose, rhinoviruses may escape the immune system by lurking just beyond its reach. “They have found this niche,” Dr. Iwasaki said.

The team published its study this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“I found the work to be fascinating and convincing,” said Dr. James E. Gern, a pediatrician at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, who was not involved in the study. But he cautioned that rhinoviruses infecting cells in a dish may not behave as they would in, say, a wheezing subway commuter.

“A main problem is that none of the experiments are done in living animals,” said Vincent Racaniello, a virologist at Columbia University who was not involved in the study.

Many other viruses, such as influenza, also infect the respiratory tract. But they specialize in invading cells further down the airway, as far as the lungs, where temperatures are higher than in the nose. Those viruses are known to carry genes that help jam the warning signals that cells use to fight infections.

Scientists also have discovered strains of rhinoviruses that infect the lungs, and they have linked these infections to asthma attacks in children. Dr. Iwasaki suspects that rhinoviruses don’t use a sophisticated signal-jamming strategy to invade these warmer parts of the body. “Perhaps these individuals have impaired immune defenses against the rhinoviruses,” she said.

Dr. Iwasaki is now wondering if other viruses take advantage of cool temperatures to escape the immune system. They may find these refuges not only in the upper airway, but in the testicles, for example, which have to stay cool for sperm to develop normally.

While scientists have long speculated that fevers can be good for us, they haven’t dug into the molecular details explaining exactly why. The new finding suggests that our bodies may trigger fevers to make the immune system fight infections more effectively.

“That’s also one of those questions that there really isn’t a good answer for — why we have fever and how it helps us get rid of pathogens,” said Dr. Iwasaki. “So in both directions, both higher and lower temperatures, we’re excited to explore.” - NY Times.

Harsh Respiratory Virus Slamming Colorado

Colorado is being hit with a rise in cases of upper respiratory illness this year, and doctors are warning that without treatment, patients could suffer for weeks once they’ve contracted the virus.

Dr. John Torres, Medical contributor for KUSA in Denver, says that hospitals in Colorado are seeing a higher than normal number of cases of a virulent flu that starts out like a common cold but lingers for weeks once taking hold.

“After a few weeks, in some people, it can turn into more of a bacterial infection because their immune system has been suppressed a little bit, which is when we will move in with some antibiotics,” Torres told Channel 9 News. “But for the most part, it’s just the common cold virus that floats around this time of year, but it lingers for a long time.”

Doctors say that if the flu continues for longer than a week, sufferers should get to a doctor because a round of antibiotics may be necessary.

To avoid the flu, doctors suggest that people keep their hands clean, avoid touching their faces after being around others, and keep workspaces sanitized.

Colorado isn’t alone. The Centers for Disease Control already reported that this flu season has become “severe” and has exceeded the national baseline, hitting the epidemic threshold of 6.8 percent.

WATCH: Harsh Respiratory Virus Slams Colorado

“Though we cannot predict what will happen the rest of this flu season, it’s possible we may have a season that’s more severe than most,” director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Dr. Tom Frieden said during a press conference in December. - Breitbart.

26 children have died from flu as outbreak widens

Registered nurse Charlene Luxcin gives Gabriella Diaz, 4, a flu shot last January at the Whittier Street Health Center in Boston, Mass. The Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention on Monday, Jan. 5, 2014, reported flu season is getting worse.(Photo: Charles Krupa, AP)

Flu is now widespread in 46 states and has killed 26 children, health officials said today.

"This year is shaping up to be a bad one, particularly for people 65 and older," says Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children younger than 5 are also at high risk of hospitalization, particularly babies under 6 months, who are too young to be vaccinated.

Flu is hitting the USA especially hard this year for two reasons.

First, the dominant flu strain in circulation is H3N2, a type that tends to cause twice as many hospitalizations and deaths as other strains of flu, Frieden says. Hospitalization rates have risen to 92 per 100,000 people, compared with 52 hospitalizations per 100,000 in a typical year.

"H3N2 is a nastier flu virus than other flu viruses," Frieden says. "Hospitalization rates in the over-65 age group are rising."

Second, the H3N2 viruses used to make this year's influenza vaccines aren't a good match to those spreading throughout the country, the CDC says. That's because about two-thirds of the H3N2 viruses in circulation have mutated significantly since vaccine production began last spring. Drugmakers tend to start making flu vaccines in the spring, in order to produce enough for the fall flu season.

"Even in a good year, the flu vaccine is not as effective as our other vaccines," Frieden says, noting that flu efficacy rates are about 60% to 65%.

Frieden says there are several ways for people to protect themselves.

Flu vaccines.
While the flu shot this year may be less effective than usual, Frieden says it's not too late to get a shot. About one-third of the H3N2 viruses in circulation are a good match for those in the vaccine. And vaccines protect against three or four strains of flu. So flu shots may still protect people from other types of flu, such as strains of influenza B, which often show up later in the flu season.

The CDC recommends flu shots for everyone over the age of 6 months.

Only about half of Americans get flu vaccines, the CDC says. Doctors recommend that pregnant women get vaccinated, to provide immunity to babies in the first few months of life.

Antiviral drugs. Frieden also urged patients and doctors to make more use of antiviral drugs, such as Tamiflu and Relenza, which can reduce the risk of complications, hospitalizations and death. While the drugs are most effective if given in the first 24 hours after symptoms appear, Frieden says they may still offer some benefit after that point, especially for elderly people and others at high risk of complications.

Surveys show most Americans don't know there are prescription medicines to treat the flu, Frieden says.

"They work, but they aren't being used nearly enough," Frieden says. A study found that "fewer than one out of five high-risk outpatients who clearly should have gotten treated with antivirals, actually did."

Frieden encouraged doctors to prescribe antivirals immediately when patients have symptoms of the flu — such as fever, headache and body ache — rather than wait for definitive results from tests, which may unnecessarily delay treatment.

Some pharmacies are running short of the drugs, although manufacturers say the overall supply of antivirals is good, Frieden says.

"You may have to call around" to more than one pharmacy, Frieden says.

Pneumococcal shots. This fall, the CDC began encouraging people over age 65 to get two different vaccines against pneumococcus, a bacteria that causes pneumonia. The flu increases the risk of pneumonia, especially in the elderly.

The flu sickens millions of Americans every year, says the CDC's Joseph Bresee, which leads to hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations. Deaths from the flu can range from 5,000 to 50,000 every year, says the CDC.

The USA is about halfway through the flu season now.

Good hygiene. People should wash their hands frequently and cover their coughs, Frieden says. People who are sick should stay home and not go to work or school. - USA Today.

5 New Measles Cases Reported With Ties to Disneyland

Five more people who visited Disney theme parks in California last month have fallen ill with measles, bringing the number of cases in the state to a dozen, local health officials said Friday.

Six patients in Southern California's Orange County have been diagnosed with the illness who visited the local theme parks last month, and only one was fully vaccinated against the disease, said Nicole Stanfield, a spokeswoman for the county's health care agency.

More people may have been exposed when measles patients were treated at two local hospitals and a lab, county officials said. Stanfield urged anyone with measles symptoms to call their doctor before seeking medical attention to avoid exposing others to the highly contagious illness.

"The medical provider may visit them in the car or may have a special room for them to go where they're not contaminating everyone else in the waiting room," she said.

California's health care agency has reported seven people in the state and two people in Utah likely contracted measles on trips to Disneyland or Disney California Adventure between Dec. 15 and Dec. 20. In Colorado, the El Paso County Public Health department said a patient was diagnosed with measles at a Colorado Springs hospital after visiting a California theme park.

Disney officials have said they are working with public health authorities to provide any necessary assistance.

Measles is a highly contagious virus that lives in an infected person's nose and throat mucus and spreads through coughing and sneezing, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes and a red rash that usually first appears on the face and spreads to the rest of the body.

Health experts say the best prevention against measles is vaccination. While officials declared measles eliminated in the United States in 2000 because of a lack of continuous transmission, the illness is still brought into the country by foreign visitors or unvaccinated Americans. - ABC News.

ICE AGE NOW: Infrastructure Collapse - 1 Dead After Heavy Snow, High Winds And Poor Visibility Leads To Massive 150-Car Pileup In Michigan; Multiple Vehicles On Fire; Interstate 94 Closes! [PHOTOS + VIDEOS]

- State police say at least one person has died in a series of crashes involving roughly 150 vehicles on both sides of Interstate 94 in southwestern Michigan.

Lt. Rick Pazder says many vehicles are on fire, including at least two semi-trucks carrying fireworks and other hazardous materials.

The crashes are located between mile markers 88 and 92 in eastern Kalamazoo County, near Galesburg. Authorities are blaming snow, wind and poor visibility in the crash.

Police first said 90 vehicles were involved, then no more than 70. But Pazder says a better count now puts the number around 150, with a majority in westbound lanes.

WATCH: Explosive crashes on Interstate 94.

He says a trucker from Ottawa, Canada, died, and an unknown number of people are injured. - LSJ.

ICE AGE NOW: Mini-Ice Age 2015-2035 - Saudi Arabia Freezes And Panic Grain Buying In Russia!

In this photo taken on Jan. 9, 2013, residents of Tabuk enjoy the snow after a heavy snowstorm in the desert.
A snowstorm is forecast to hit parts of the Kingdom, including Tabuk, on Wednesday. (Reuters, file)

January 9, 2015 - SAUDI ARABIA
- A wave of bitterly cold weather accompanied by wind, sub-zero temperatures and snow is expected to hit the Kingdom on Wednesday and last until Sunday, the Presidency of Meteorology and Environmental Protection (PME) said on Monday.

The extreme cold is forecast strike the north and northwest areas of the Kingdom as a result of storms coming from Europe and America.

The inclement weather is expected to move across the entire country.

Hussain Al-Qahtani, spokesperson of the PME, said this would be the coldest weather for the year. The northern areas would be struck first, including Tabuk, Turaif and Al-Jouf, where sub-zero temperatures and light snow is expected. The PME also expects wind that would limit visibility.

The temperatures would likely drop in Madinah, Jeddah and Makkah, accompanied by strong winds. The cold wave would reach its peak on Thursday in Hail, Qassim, the Eastern Province and Riyadh.

On Friday, the storm would reach the Kingdom’s southern areas such as Najran, Jazan, Asir and Baha, said Al-Qahtani.

He urged fishermen, drivers using mountain roads and the Kingdom’s residents and citizens to take extra precautions to prevent accidents. He advised people to wear warm clothes, especially those suffering from asthma and rheumatism. Al-Qahtani said citizens and expatriates must also keep a close eye on weather forecasts on the Internet and look out for any SMS messages sent out by the various government agencies.

According to, the temperature in Madinah was 20 degrees Celsius on Monday and would become partly cloudy and drop by Thursday to 18 during the day and 8 at night.

In Riyadh, the weather was 21 degrees Celsius and would drop to 16 during the day and 4 at night by Thursday. In Jeddah, the temperature was 25 degrees Celsius, and would hover at this level throughout the week, and around 16 at night.

WATCH: Saudia Arabia Freezes & Panic Grain Buying in Russia.

Fewer Ships Sailing the Arctic

NCH temp graphs

Rutgers Snow Lab Dec 2014

Temp Map Romania from Hoinar

Little Ice Age Glacier Map Greenland

Great Lakes Ice Research Page

Forget GW its going to get Cold Again: Met Office UK

Global Temperature Graphic

Russian Buckwheat Shortage

Global Temp rise 0.3C since 1979

- Adapt 2030 | Arab News.

NEW WORLD DISORDER: Societal Collapse And Civilizations Unraveling In France - Third Hostage Situation In A Jewelery Store In Montpellier As Police Kill Charlie Hebdo Suspects And Free Hostages At Grocery Store In Paris!

A hostage situation is being reported right now inside a jewelry store in Montpellier, France.

January 9, 2015 - MONTPELLIER, FRANCE
- Hostages have reportedly been taken in a jewellery store in Montpellier, Southern France. The new incident is being reported shortly after hostages were freed and Charlie Hebdo suspects killed in Northern France.

According to the media, two people are being held in a shop in the center of the city. The police have surrounded the area.

Charlie Hebdo suspects killed, store hostages freed - reports

Reports are coming in that four people have been killed at a grocery store in Paris before the storming operation to rescue hostages started. The hostage in Dammartin-en-Goele has been freed, and the two suspects in the Charlie Hebdo massacre killed.

Several loud blasts were heard and smoke has been rising over the printworks in the industrial zone north east of Paris.

Security forces had the building surrounded for most of Friday before the explosions happened.

Smoke is seen at left as French police special forces launch their assault at a kosher supermarket (seen at rear) where several people were taken
hostage near the Porte de Vincennes in eastern Paris January 9, 2015.(Reuters / Gonzalo Fuentes)

The National Gendarmerie Intervention Group (GIGN), a special operations unit of the French Armed Forces, launched the assault, reported Le Figaro.

The Hebdo suspects emerged firing on security forces, reported an AFP source. One policeman was reportedly injured in the operation. However, he is not in a critical condition.

Meanwhile, the hostages who were held at the grocery store in Porte de Vincennes in Paris are being released. The hostage taker is reportedly dead, after special forces entered the building and killed him, according to Le Monde.

Police take up a position on a roof in Dammartin-en-Goele, north-east of Paris, where two brothers suspected of slaughtering 12 people in an Islamist attack on
French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo held one person hostage as police cornered the gunmen, on January 9, 2015.(AFP Photo / Dominique Faget)

Several hostages freed at Jewish supermarket in Paris. Photo Thomas Samson

Subsequent unconfirmed reports suggested that as many of four of the hostages in the kosher supermarket had been killed.

A police union source told Reuters that at least four were feared dead, and that he believed up to 20 hostages in total had been held in the building.

While figures remain unclear, a security source also told AFP that as many as four had been critically wounded. - RT News.

ICE AGE NOW: Thursday's Flurries Break 57-YEAR-OLD Snowfall Record In Florida - Ocean-Effect Snow Creates Buzz From Jacksonville Through Coastal Georgia!

January 9, 2015 - FLORIDA, UNITED STATES
- Snow-way! Call it a miracle! Snow danced over the streets of Jacksonville Thursday for the first time in five years and tied the record for the day of a trace set 57 years ago.

WATCH: Snow flurries in Jacksonville.

Granted it's not a Buffalo type record where the only way of escape out of your house after a snow event is out the second story window. But this is Florida and any flurry, whether one or a dozen is a BIG deal.
Snow is exceedingly rare in these parts. It was enough to drive adults and kids alike from high rise offices downtown and out of schools to witness this "great white rain," a term coined by explorer's through this area in the late 1700s when snow fell over the region, according to meteorologist-emeritus George Winterling, that was falling from the sky.

Downtown Jacksonville snowflakes: "Nice surprise to see the flurries. A few of us ran outside like kids to see it."  Melissa Laughlin

So how rare is snow in Jacksonville really? According to NWS meteorologist David Shuler, unofficially Jacksonville has recorded 18 winters since 1910 with at least one trace snowfall event. This only accounts for the months of December, January and February. Not November or March. Therefore the number of events may be a bit higher if those two months are accounted for. According to meteorologist Jason Hess, only three snowfalls have actually accumulated officially in Jacksonville in 103 years (1956, 1986 and 1989) with the greatest 24 hour accumulation of 1.9 inches in February 1899 -- before records officially began.

Thursday's snowfall was a rare phenomenon known as 'ocean effect snow.' It's the same idea as lake-effect snow except it occurs over the ocean.  The idea here is that the water is warmer than the land this time of year allowing moisture to rise and condense to form clouds and rain or snow.

When our winds shifted to the northeast, the moisture began moving towards land. Even though the surface temperatures were above freezing near the surface, the air just above the boundary layer (basically the first few hundred feet above the surface) was below freezing allowing the snowflakes to make it to the ground before melting. Voila! Snow.
It nearly didn't happen though. A powerful arctic front pushed through Florida late Wednesday powered by a mega-high pressure system over the mid west. That high drove in a lot of dry air, evidence by our dew points (measure of moisture in the air) into the teens meaning any flakes would have evaporated before reaching the ground. Through the process of evaporative cooling (wet-bulbing), our atmosphere cooled and moistened just enough to allow for the flakes to hit the ground.

Snow was last observed officially, a trace, in Jacksonville the day after Christmas in 2010 with measurable snowfall in southeast Georgia.

"Today's forecast looks cold and...and I just want to point out the ever so slight possibility of a few light flurries across our area today. A small chance but a chance nonetheless," meteorologist Richard Nunn said Thursday on The Morning Show. Many thought that statement to be the joke of the day -- until it happened!

St. Mark's Episcopal Day School students (and a teacher)
try and catch a snowflakes on their tongues
The Weather Authority ran with the idea and thus '#FlurryWatch2015' was underway with Blake Mathews out in the field scanning the skies for what was sure to be a bust.

Around 10 a.m. Thursday, multiple reports started pouring into the newsroom of flurries around Jacksonville, then spreading north to Fernandina Beach, Yulee and into coastal Georgia in the afternoon. By late in the evening, the event was over. However, in the minds of all of those in our area, the event rages on bringing a palpable excitement unknown even to kids at a toy store!

Flurry-watch 2015

Thursday's forecast was for a chance of snow. By late morning, furries spread across northeast Florida and southeast Georgia. Here are some of our viewers photos. Share yours on our StormPins app or upload at - News4Jax.

NEW WORLD DISORDER: Societal Collapse And Civilizations Unraveling In France - Armed Man Takes At Least Five Hostages In A Paris Store, 2 People Killed; Shots Fired; Schools On Lockdown; French Municipal Websites Hacked And Replaced With ISIS Flag; Incident At Eiffel Tower; President Hollande Holds Crisis Meeting!

January 9, 2015 - PARIS, FRANCE
- An armed man took at least five hostages in a kosher grocery store in eastern Paris, French media said. A police operation is underway in the area with traffic partially blocked and near-by schools evacuated.

Two people have been killed, French media reported. However, later France’s Ministry of the Interior has formally denied reports that two people died in the kosher supermarket attack, France 24 said.

Police have completely locked down the area at Porte de Vincennes, RTL radio said.

WATCH: Armed man takes hostages in Paris kosher grocery store.


“Panic at Porte de Vincennes. Policemen in bulletproof vests are evacuating everyone. The operation is underway,”
tweeted Raquel Garrido from France’s Left Party.

The gunman has threatened to kill the hostages if police attempt to storm the store, police said as cited by AP.

The hostage taker in the store is demanding freedom for the Kouachi brothers, RTL reports.

 The shooter was armed with a Kalashnikov, reported iTele.

France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has arrived at the shooting scene at Porte de Vincennes, Le Figaro reported, as well as Paris mayor.

According to France Info, citing numerous police sources, the shooter matches the description of the person who killed the policewoman.

 “This man of African origin corresponds to the description of the Montrouge [commune] killer,” said the source.

The suspects involved in the Montrouge shooting of a policewoman on Thursday have been identified as Hayat Boumeddiene,26, and Amedy Coulibaly, 32. One or both of them are also suspected of having taken hostages in a grocery store in Paris on Friday.

Traffic is partially blocked near the area, RATP (Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens), a state-owned public transport operator, said on Twitter.

President François Hollande will hold a crisis meeting at 15:15 local time at the Elysee Palace along with the country’s PM Manuel Valls and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

Police have started evacuating local residents in the Saint-Mandé commune near Porte de Vincennes.

Police officers have reported a number of wounded at the scene.

Schools near Porte de Vincennes are now under lockdown, AFP cited French officials.

The Academie de Paris has reported that parents can collect their children from all Paris schools except those in the security perimeter in the 11th and 12th districts. The schools there must be kept closed until a special order is given to reopen them.

WATCH: Le Pen - We must respond to war declared by Islamic fundamentalism.

French municipal-websites hacked, replaced with ISIS flag

Image from

So-called Islamic State flags have appeared on the websites of several municipalities near Paris whose homepages were hacked. The hacks come amidst an intense manhunt to capture two suspects believed to have committed the Charlie Hebdo office massacre.

The attacks, apparently carried out by a group identified as L’Apoca-Dz, occurred shortly before midnight on Thursday.

The websites of several communes in the Paris metropolitan area, including Goussainville, Ezanville and Jouy-le-Moutier, were targeted.

The afflicted sites displayed an image of the IS flag with a nasheed or Islamic vocal chant playing in the background. The group, further claiming to speak for IS, denounced both France and Charlie Hebdo in a message written on the homepages of the hacked sites.

The websites have since been restored.

Despite employing the IS flag, L’Apoca-Dz doesn’t appear to have any actual affiliation to the militant group. A quick search has showed a variety of sites hacked by a group flying under the same banner, with no apparent political or geographical consistency.

Screenshot of Dutch-based Jacht Betimmering Interieurbouw H.H. Reinderink Company hacked by L’Apoca-Dz.

In one hack targeting a Dutch-based firm, the group posted an image of a Guy Fawkes mask, which is associated with the Hacker collective Anonymous.

The group listed a group of enemies, including France, the USA and Israel, with a statement demanding freedom for Palestine.

The hackers further wrote “Power of Algeria” and “Algerian to the core.”

The attacks serve to highlight tensions in France following the worst terror attack in a generation. An intense manhunt involving some 90,000 security forces is currently underway for Cherif and Said Kouachi, the brothers accused of killing 12 people in Wednesday's attack on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. The magazine has repeatedly lampooned religious and political figures, including the Prophet Mohammed.

The brothers, according to preliminary reports, appear to be connected to the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and not IS.

According to French officials, the Kouachi brothers said “they were ready to die as martyrs.”

Trocadero Square near Eiffel Tower evacuated after ‘false reports’ of armed incident

Reuters / Gonzalo Fuentes

An armed incident has been reported in the Trocadero area close to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The vicinity has been evacuated and traffic is choked near the area.

“Tourists have been evacuated in the Trocadero and there are many police officers,”
witnesses told Le Figaro.

Traffic was partially blocked, RATP (Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens), a state-owned public transport operator, confirmed on Twitter.

Law enforcers searched the Trocadero metro station, and shooting was also reported at the site.
However, the Interior Ministry later said the incident was a false alarm.

- RT.